September 25, 2012

MOVIES: Arbitrage (Nicholas Jarecki, 2012)

Arbitrage is currently in limited release, and also available on many VOD systems. It's an adequate crime thriller, elevated by a couple of fine performances.

Richard Gere stars as Robert Miller, a hedge fund manager who's got it all -- a successful company that's about to be bought in a big-money merger; beautiful wife (Susan Sarandon), daughter (Brit Marling), and mistress (Laetitia Casta); the respect of the business and philanthropic worlds.

And then there's a horrible accident, someone dies, and everything starts to crumble around him. The merger's on the verge of falling through because of Robert's financial hanky-panky, discovered by his daughter (who is the firm's CFO); Sarandon finds out about Casta; and Robert's likely to be arrested for murder.

The story's fairly predictable from that point on, but Gere does very nice work as a powerful man who can't quite figure out why this problem won't just go away, and there's a strong supporting performance from Nate Parker as a young family friend who gets more caught up than he'd expected in Robert's problems. Sarandon is mostly wasted in a nothing role, Marling continues to be prettier than she is talented (and she's not all that pretty), and Tim Roth's performance as a police detective is too big for the movie.

Far from essential viewing, and probably not going to get enough attention to put Gere in contention for an Oscar nomination, but Gere and Parker are good enough that you might enjoy the movie if you've got an evening with nothing better to do. I can't recommend that you pay full movie-ticket price for it, but it'll play perfectly well on TV, and VOD's cheaper than the theater.

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